April 17, 2020 Brethren Letter
Thirty-five to forty years ago our local pastor in the Worldwide Church of God recommended that each person in the congregation set the goal of reading the entire Bible page by page, from cover to cover, at least once in their lifetime. My first thought was, “Oh! That will take years! I’ll be old by the time I finish.” But, the more I thought about his suggestion, the more I thought of it as a good goal to achieve. Of course, reading the Bible from cover to cover wasn’t intended to take the place of regular Bible study. It was intended to be in addition to it.
So, the next week I started reading a few chapters each day to complete my goal. It took a little over one year to read the entire book. Please understand, reading the Bible from cover to cover doesn’t make an individual more righteous than others, nor does it guarantee a place in the Kingdom of God. Reading the entire Bible was simply my personal goal.
Now, after having read every single word of the Bible, the question is, does that mean I should study it anymore? After all, haven’t I read EVERY scripture already? What else is there? Well, I don’t believe any one of you would say, “Gary Liebold doesn’t need to read his Bible anymore. He has already done that.”
We’re told in II Timothy 2:15 to “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” In the book of Acts, we read how the Bereans searched the scriptures daily to understand the TRUTH of God. “Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:10-11).
We also find the following in the book of Psalms, “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). God’s plan has tremendous joy for us. The only way we can understand the scriptures more deeply is to study them and learn from them daily. Here is a paragraph taken from a co-worker letter written by Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong in February, 1943. God had shown him how important Bible study was.
…I read in James 1:5: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ASK OF GOD, … and it shall be given.” I did ask, first for UNDERSTANDING, then for wisdom, which is right knowledge, rightly APPLIED. I began to pray a great deal — to pray as I studied — and much of my Bible study from then on was done on my knees. Gradually the picture cleared. Bible study became my great life-interest. It became a passion. Not as a hobby or side-interest. Not as a means of winning arguments. But purely for the love of the truth itself which had been born in my heart and soul, and as a means of learning HOW TO LIVE. I studied daily, often until long after midnight … always following the example of the Bereans which God commanded, “searching the Scriptures daily, WHETHER those things were so.” And I have BELIEVED only what I found PROVED in God’s Word.
Brethren, the opening point I was making about reading the entire Bible, when it comes to God’s Word, is that it is never old or redundant. We should be gleaning new understanding every time we read it. There’s no “once and done” when it comes to God’s Word. Learning is an ongoing process. “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen” (II Peter 3:18).
In a few weeks we will be observing the Feast of Pentecost. Some of us have kept the Feast of Pentecost for 10, 20, 30, 40 years or more! Are the Holy Days old and worn out, no longer new, “ground” covered time and again? Many of us have heard the same scriptures over and over through the years. Yet, each year we should have a deeper understanding of those scriptures. They should never grow old!!!
In the book of Matthew, Jesus said something quite interesting to His disciples. “Jesus said to them [his disciples], “Have you understood all these things?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” Then He said to them, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old” (Matthew 13:51-52). I’ll also quote the Amplified Bible for this verse to better understand its meaning. God’s Word (the Holy Bible), has treasure for us every single time!
(51) Have you understood all these things [parables] taken together? They said to Him, Yes, Lord.
(52) He said to them, Therefore every teacher and interpreter of the Sacred Writings who has been instructed about and trained for the kingdom of heaven and has become a disciple is like a householder who brings forth out of his storehouse treasure that is new and [treasure that is] old [the fresh as well as the familiar] (Matthew 13:51-52) (AMP).
Please have a good Sabbath, everyone!
Sincerely, Your Brother in Christ,